2019 Chevrolet Suburban: Great If You Need It, But Too Much If You Don’tJanuary 16, 2019
What is it: The 2018 Chevy Suburban is the biggest of the company’s body-on-frame SUVs. This one sports a 6.2-liter V8 making 420 hp with the sporty RST package. The standard version gets a 5.3-liter V8 delivering ‘only’ 355 hp. The RST also adds the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Non-RST models come with a six-speed. The Suburban is about 2 feet longer than the Tahoe.
Key Competitors: Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia
Base Price: $69,595 As-Tested Price: $81,770
Highlights: This $80,000 hunk of metal lands under the Premier trim, which adds Magnetic Ride Control, keyless entry with push-button start, 12-way power heated and ventilated seats, lane change alert and side blind zone alert, 20-inch wheels and a few other baubles to the already well-equipped Suburban package.
Our Opinion: It’s the big fella. It’s Shaq Diesel if he was an SUV. The Suburban’s interior is absolutely cavernous, as is that of the Tahoe, but seriously, if you’re planning to bring a team to a tournament you might want those extra two feet of cargo space. With all three rows up, the Tahoe has suprisingly little cargo space in the back. The seats are comfy and the interior is a pleasant place to spend time and all of the controls are easy to understand. Road Test Editor Jr. was so far away I couldn’t even give him the fist bump I usually do after we make a yellow light.
The Cadillac Escalade is getting a little played out in its 20th year, and I don’t know why you’d get one over this. If you’re looking for bling, the Lincoln Navigator has it. On the other hand, a new Escalade is coming next year. You could always wait for that.
Power is obviously great from the 6.2-liter V8. And like the Tahoe with the RST package, that engine and the upgraded brakes make this SUV feel a little bit smaller than the Godzilla crusher it is. It doesn’t feel small, mind you, just small-er. The ten-speed feels great here, as opposed to some of the Ford models that have it. The Blue Oval and Bowtie developed it together, remember.
I’d skip the bigger wheels on all of these machines, despite the slightly better looks. I complained about it on the Escalade and I’ll continue here. If you’re not getting a sports car, why the rubber band tires? It ruins the ride. If anything I would want big-ass mud tires and a trailer hitch for outdoorsy type events.
This Suburban gets 14 mpg in the city, which means about 14 mpg overall for an enthusiast. Like the Tahoe, to own one you’d have to hate gas and money and love stopping at the gas station. Still I have no problem, morally, with this SUV, as long as you need it. If you’re brood is big, or you have a boat, or you regularly take a second family on vacation, no problem. If you just want a higher perch to sit above traffic, get one of the myriad other three-row SUVs that get better gas mileage than this. If you NEED to buy American, get the Dodge Durango — it has three rows, though smaller, and with the big engine is actually fun to drive, and nimble, relatively.